Is Intelligence Overrated?

May 9th, 2012 | By | Category: abundance, aptitude, Career advice, natural talent, professional image, self-promotion

The following essay by Keld Jennsen on IQ supports my theory that a persons IQ does not and should not be used to determine the average persons ability to learn and succeed. All too often for better or worse our academic system relies on test scores to evaluate a persons ability.
The IQ test was developed especially for academia and then adopted as a measure of raw intelligence. Remember the test we used to take in school that evaluated our ability to read and comprehend? They were something like an IQ test. Those who could score high on the test were said to read at higher grade level. For example, a student in the fifth grade who did well on the test may have a reading and comprehension of a student in the 7th grade. They did not move the kid to the seventh grade. He may not have gotten all around good grades, but because be was deemed to be on par with a 7th grader in reading, he was thought to be smarter than the other 5th grades who were reading at the 5th grade level or perhaps a little below. We all stayed where we were in 5th grade. So what’s the point?
I understand the need to ensure that children are getting a proper education, and one way to do that is through testing. However the tests should not be a mechanism to cast someone’s future in stone. I read the other day where a 2 year old was admitted to Mensa. Although the kid has the ability to recite some knowledge facts, I doubt that he can take care of his own basic needs. So how smart is he really?
My neighbor once told me a story of how her dad told her that if she got a C on her report card she would not be accepted into college. She got a C in the third grade and resigned herself to not going to college. Although she was an average student, she did not really apply herself as she felt she was out the running for a professional career. She did ok in high school and was looking for professional schools to attend when she graduated. It was by a stroke of luck that one of her girlfriends with similar grades convinced her to apply to college, so they could hang out together. She was accepted to college and did fine, is now a mechanical engineer.
I have another acquaintance who swears he has IQ of 140. It served him well in high school, and got him into a good university. I guess the pace was to slow because he quit after the first semester, and is living in his parent’s basement.
In my career I have worked with some people who said they had very high IQs. I never noticed their performance to be that much above everyone else. The only time their high IQ was an advantage is when they managed to work it into a conversation or tried to use it as a trump card to win an argument.
I realize that some of us may excel in one area or another, but in this society it does not make that big of a difference. Like the article points out it depends more on how we apply ourselves.
Intelligence Is Overrated: What You Really Need to Succeed
By Keld Jensen | Forbes–what-you-really-need-to-succeed.html

Albert Einstein’s was estimated at 160, Madonna’s is 140, and John F. Kennedy’s was only 119, but as it turns out, your IQ score pales in comparison with your EQ, MQ, and BQ scores when it comes to predicting your success and professional achievement.

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IQ tests are used as an indicator of logical reasoning ability and technical intelligence. A high IQ is often a prerequisite for rising to the top ranks of business today. It is necessary, but it is not adequate to predict executive competence and corporate success. By itself, a high IQ does not guarantee that you will stand out and rise above everyone else.

Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge. Additionally, Nobel Prize winning Israeli-American psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if the likeable person is offering a lower quality product or service at a higher price.

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With this in mind, instead of exclusively focusing on your conventional intelligence quotient, you should make an investment in strengthening your EQ (Emotional Intelligence), MQ (Moral Intelligence), and BQ (Body Intelligence). These concepts may be elusive and difficult to measure, but their significance is far greater than IQ.

Emotional Intelligence

EQ is the most well known of the three, and in brief it is about: being aware of your own feelings and those of others, regulating these feelings in yourself and others, using emotions that are appropriate to the situation, self-motivation, and building relationships.

Top Tip for Improvement: First, become aware of your inner dialogue. It helps to keep a journal of what thoughts fill your mind during the day. Stress can be a huge killer of emotional intelligence, so you also need to develop healthy coping techniques that can effectively and quickly reduce stress in a volatile situation.

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Moral Intelligence

MQ directly follows EQ as it deals with your integrity, responsibility, sympathy, and forgiveness. The way you treat yourself is the way other people will treat you. Keeping commitments, maintaining your integrity, and being honest are crucial to moral intelligence.

Top Tip for Improvement: Make fewer excuses and take responsibility for your actions. Avoid little white lies. Show sympathy and communicate respect to others. Practice acceptance and show tolerance of other people’s shortcomings. Forgiveness is not just about how we relate to others; it’s also how you relate to and feel about yourself.

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Body Intelligence

Lastly, there is your BQ, or body intelligence, which reflects what you know about your body, how you feel about it, and take care of it. Your body is constantly telling you things; are you listening to the signals or ignoring them? Are you eating energy-giving or energy-draining foods on a daily basis? Are you getting enough rest? Do you exercise and take care of your body? It may seem like these matters are unrelated to business performance, but your body intelligence absolutely affects your work because it largely determines your feelings, thoughts, self-confidence, state of mind, and energy level.

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Top Tip For Improvement: At least once a day, listen to the messages your body is sending you about your health. Actively monitor these signals instead of going on autopilot. Good nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate rest are all key aspects of having a high BQ. Monitoring your weight, practicing moderation with alcohol, and making sure you have down time can dramatically benefit the functioning of your brain and the way you perform at work.

What You Really Need To Succeed

It doesn’t matter if you did not receive the best academic training from a top university. A person with less education who has fully developed their EQ, MQ, and BQ can be far more successful than a person with an impressive education who falls short in these other categories.

Yes, it is certainly good to be an intelligent, rational thinker and have a high IQ; this is an important asset. But you must realize that it is not enough. Your IQ will help you personally, but EQ, MQ, and BQ will benefit everyone around you as well. If you can master the complexities of these unique and often under-rated forms of intelligence, research tells us you will achieve greater success and be regarded as more professionally competent and capable.

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